Friday, September 17, 2010

FRUIT CAKES...Mini Heart Shaped.

                            It is now the second week into September - and i have been thinking that it is
                                           time to start making my Fruit Cakes for Christmas.

Over time i have been asked how do i make my fruit cakes and the methods used... so i thought i would incorporate as tutorial to go along with my photos.

                                                               So, off we go.....

                       First i shall make 16 mini heart shape ones - so as to give my fellow CWA Branch
                       Members for Christmas Gifts


    After gathering all my fruits and slithered almonds - i set about cutting everything up into small   portions..............everything needs to be small as the cakes are small and nothing worse  than cutting a small cake and a huge piece of apricot falls out and leaves a gapping hole.......
                                horrors....perish the thought ....................

                          After the cutting and chopping - i then pour over the Brandy.
                              With gloved hands i then proceed to mix it through thoroughly -
                                     making sure everything  is  moist from the Brandy.
                          This done, i then cover with a few layers of Glad Wrap (cling film)
                                                     and leave for 4 weeks minimum.
                      That way i am ensuring that the fruit is plump (plump fruit is happy fruit)
                                             and the Brandy has been totally absorbed.

                                   Four weeks pass..................And so i continue with the next steps.
                                          I weigh and sift out my flour and spices into one bowl

                                                        Crack 7 eggs into another bowl.

Lightly whisk

Set bowl of whisked eggs to one side for now.

Next, into mixing bowl i place the softened butter,  brown sugar,
 treacle and plum jam.

Beat until creamed

Take combined bowl of Flour and spices and mix into bowl of Brandied fruits.
Ensuring that all fruit is coated evenly.

Making sure that you *bring* the fruit from the bottom of the bowl
to the top - thus encorporating all the excess liquid as well.
This photo shows  better coverage after doing this.

Next, (and this is where i put on 2 pairs of food safe grade tight fitting gloves - as i find i get a better distribution of the creamed mix)
Gradually add the creamed mixture in with the floured fruit and nuts.
Again, remembering to bring the fruit from the bottom of the bowl to the top.

This photo shows - after first mix.

This photo shows after mixing some more and bring floured fruit from bottom of bowl.
See how it doesn't look so pale and gooey - is that how you spell *gooey*?

And after a good five minutes of mixing - your fruit should look evenly coated.

Now, at this point i should mention that for these little heart shaped cakes - i wanted them to be as tall as possible - soooooo, i filled my little tins to the brim.
Horrors i hear you say - but there was a method to my madness...indeed there was.

By doing this i knew they would rise up and of course spill over the edge - HOWEVER - i also knew that i could with serrated knife - shave off the excess - that way ensuing that i had no crispy tops or edges.....yes peoples - at times i do *think ahead*

Just thought i would pop some little pictures of one of the  hearts with its liner for you to see..
Sometimes it good to have a *visual*

So after arranging all the little hearts in their right postions - and placing the liners inside of each little heart - i set to filling them

And an arial view - loll

Might i add that at this point these are the best they are going to look until they have had their little *heads* chopped off - as they do rise - and overflowwwwwww

Into the oven we goooo.
On lowest shelf/rack
Oven pre heated to 200C - then as soon as cakes go into Oven - i turn the temp down to 150C
I set my oven timer for 30 minutes - then once that goes off - i turn the tray 180degrees to ensure even cooking.

The picture below shows them rising after 30 minutes of being in my oven.

Besides this tray of heart cakes - i also have enough mixture for 2 x 5 inch round cake tins.
Which i shall bake when hearts are cooked.

With the hearts safely tucked away in the oven i now begin to tidy up my kitchen - and turn the kettle on for that coffee i am craving...

Kitchen all cleaned - well earned coffee had - and fast forward an hour and 20 mins
and the hearts are cooked - removed from oven and left to completely cool on cake rack...did i remember to take a photo at this stage - NOOOO, I DID NOT.  :(

Let me say that the 16 little hearts and one round in the middle looked like a huge mishaped cake- lolll
Remembering, that was the plan -

Moving on after that hiccup ........... sorry.

I now , with trusty serrated knife start shaving tops...
This can be done two ways -
1 - leave all little tins in place and slowly work your way from one side to the other

2 - as i did

Take each little heart out of the pan and do it.
I found this method to be more time consuming - but much easier.

Just a word of warning - very sharp serrated knives DO slice through food safe gloves
:( :( :(
and altho i didn't cut myself - one can see where the knife had been.

 i digress ...... so continuing on......

Just thought i would show you one little heart - all done...
with little liner still around it - and two  a la natural.

So now we have a rather messy looking pan - HOWEVER, we do have little fruit cake hearts of a good height all levelled and sitting pretty...

After levelling them i just give a gentle press down with th palm of my gloved hand - to ensure that all fruits are not sticking up

Now, usually i would wrap my larger fruit cakes in baking paper first - then two layers of glad wrap cling film...
However - because these little babies have a pointy end and a rounded end i don't want to damage that... otherwise i won't be able to get my fondant nice and sharp/rounded around the cakes.
Soooo, i have only wraped them in glad cling film.
Gently bringing the film around the point and again at the back where the rounded area is.

So, here are - all wrapped and in our Cake Tin ready to be tucked away in the bottom of the Pantry until November - when i shall bring them out - give them a light brush over with some Brandy - and then start decorating them.

And that ladies and gentlemen concludes this long winded - drawn out tutorial of how i, M prep, make and bake my fruit cakes.

They are well worth the effort and time that goes into making them.

They freeze extremely well - i have frozen them for up to 4 Months.
When i wish to defrost them... i remove from the freezer, leave them on the bench top overnight still wrapped in their layers.
By the next morning they are ready to be given a light brush of either Apricot Syrup or a light brush of Brandy.

 Apricot Syrup
1/4 cup of apricot Jam
1/4 cup of water

Stir together in small saucpan
Bring to a slow boil - allow to cool then transfer into a sterilized jar - may be kept in fridge for a Month.


FYI - These are the Mini Pans i use.-



  1. Dearest Madame M, What a brilliant tutorial! You make it look so easy. But then, that is the hallmark of a professional. And what heavenly little cakes they turned out to be -- your friends will absolutely love them!

    Thank you for so generously sharing your techniques!

    All the best, PDX

  2. You are more than welcome my dear friend
    M x